One of the most common questions I am asked is how to find the various advisors and other team members for your Wealth Team. The next question I get is, once you have been referred to a potential team member, what questions do you ask to be sure they know what they are talking about?

The best way for me to answer this is to tell you about pickles. That's right, cucumbers with a hangover. Now, a lot of people like pickles. I few of us (including yours truly) don't like them at all. In fact, we can't stand them. And what makes it worse is that pickles are very sociable. When someone puts a pickle on a plate with a sandwich and fries, the pickle doesn't stay to itself. It leaks all over the rest of the plate. I have always presumed that for pickle lovers, this is a good thing. You like the flavor of the pickle in the sandwich and fries.

For those of us who don't like pickles, this is a disaster. It means that the entire meal is ruined. I realize that right now two things are going through your mind. First, I have lost my mind. Second, what in the world do pickles have to do with choosing good members for your Wealth Team. I can't help you with the first thing. For you pickle lovers out there, I realize that you may have a tough time understanding why this is such a big deal to those of us who don't care for the slimy little green vegetables (they are vegetables, right?). However, I can well explain the second point by sharing a personal pickle experience (PPE for the uninitiated). It happened like this.

My colleague and I just sat down to lunch at a neighborhood cafe near our office. The server comes over and asks what we would like to order. I order a turkey sandwich with fries. Now, when I was reading the menu, I noticed that the menu indicated that all sandwiches came with a pickle. So I knew I had better do something to keep that pickle off my plate.

So when I gave my order to the server, I asked her if it would be okay if they left the pickle off my plate as I really don't care for them. She responded kindly that of course they could do this. Then she went off to get our drinks. When she returned, I thought I maybe ought to be sure she got the pickle thing straight so I asked her again if she could be sure I didn't get a pickle on my plate? To which she kindly responded “yes” she would make sure there was no pickle with my sandwich.

Nervously, I waited for my sandwich and fries, wondering if there would be a pickle infecting my sandwich and fries. Ten minutes I sat wondering if the server would really make sure there wasn't a pickle on my plate. Finally, the server comes out with our orders. I look and sure enough, there is a pickle on my plate. My colleague and I start talking about how I could have possible ended up with a pickle on my plate. Could it be that the server was not really listening to me? Perhaps she didn't like me? Or maybe the cook didn't read her note (maybe she didn't write down the note to “hold the pickle”)?

So after two conversations with the server and ten minutes of worry, I still had a pickle on my plate. My friend and I continued our conversation about the pickle. What could we learn from this? After an extensive conversation it came down to this – What would have been the best outcome from this situation?

The obvious answer, of course, is that I didn't get a pickle on my plate. Still, I thought, there is an even better outcome. Getting a pickle on my plate was only part of my problem. I also had to sit there for ten minutes worrying about whether there would be a pickle on my plate. So we came to the conclusion that the best outcome would have been for the server to ask me if I wanted a pickle with my sandwich.

Why is this the best answer? Because then I wouldn't have worried about it. I would have known that the server was interested in what I wanted. She would have been the one actively inquiring about whether I wanted a pickle. It would have been on her mind to make sure I got what I really wanted and nothing else.

Now do you see what pickles have to do with selecting the right advisors and other Wealth Team members? You want people on your team who have your interests at heart. And how can you tell if they have your interests at heart? Easy – they ask you about your interests. They find out what you really want. They sincerely search for how they can best help you. And THEY ASK YOU THE RIGHT QUESTIONS!!!

You see, the server did not ask me the right question. Oh, she asked me what I wanted to eat. Only she wasn't specific about it. When I told her I wanted a sandwich, she didn't go further to ask if I wanted the pickle that normally came with the sandwich. If she had, I am confident that I would not have had a pickle on my sandwich.

So, when you are interviewing advisors and other members for your Wealth Team, observe closely what questions they ask. How deep do they go into finding out what you want? How much time to they spending talking about your wants before they start telling you about themselves?

Only when we have team members truly interested in us will we be most successful in our wealth building. When we have team members like this, we can be confident that they will be thinking of our wants when they perform tasks on our behalf. We can be sure they are most interested in our success because they understand what success means to us (they asked the questions).

Financial freedom comes with great teams of people who are truly interested in our success. When we have a great team, financial freedom gets closer and closer and closer. So go out and find your Wealth Team today. Find those individuals who ask you the right questions and are clearly interested first in your success.

Yours for financial freedom now,